Comfort and coziness were two of the premises behind the project.
Together with them, we care for the environment, making it part of the house. As a result, we ensure the quality of life of the inhabitants.
The proposal introduces some materials not typically used on site.
The first important decision was the orientation of the house. This is in Metepec, Mexico. The weather of the place is cold at certain hours and times of the year. We proposed the south orientation. In this way we capture the sun’s rays during winter. At the same time, by means of small overhangs, we avoid them in hot seasons.
We also exploit another local weather feature. Metepec has wide temperature variations throughout the day. We take advantage of this by keeping heat in the sunny hours. Building materials can store thermal energy. It is released at night.
Orienting the house to the south implied turning its back on the street. This is to the east. Instead, we decided to open it up to the internal garden. Opening inwards is a common strategy in traditional Mexican architecture.
This decision led us to seek to take advantage of the garden. We proposed folding windows for the social area. With this we were able to open these spaces to the garden. This allows to have a large terrace during the warm months.
The garden consists of a sequence of useful spaces surrounded by dense vegetation. Among these are the fire pit, outdoor living, grassy area, and fountain.
We are convinced that nature must be an integral part of architectural design. That is why we allocated several spaces in the house to the presence of vegetation. The most important is the above-described garden. This is present in almost every space of the house. The flat roofs were also used to integrate vegetation.
Inside, storage areas play a crucial role in the design of the spaces. They are the places where things are exhibited. But they are also the means for integrating vegetation.
Low carbon footprint.
Materials were another important design decision. We are convinced that we must reduce the use of concrete due to its impact on the environment. Wood is a material with a low carbon footprint that works very well in structures of this size. That is why it was the material that we proposed for the house structure. It becomes a design element on the interior façade.
Our proposal is to create fluidity and continuity between spaces. This is what happen in the social area, as well as between it and the upper floor by means of the double height. The flow extends to the outside, between the spaces of the garden, and from these to the interiors.
The organization of the spaces is very clear. It consists of a strip for the social area, served by a second strip containing auxiliary spaces. The latter include the entrance hall, the half-bath, the home bar, and the pantry.
The staircase is not just a means to climb, it is a sculpture placed in an important point of the house. Being located between the living and the library allows to separate environments.
There is not waste of space. The building area is optimal for the program that the house has.
Wood is a material with a huge tactile and visual quality. For this reason, besides to using it in the structure, we also use it in windows, floors, and ceilings.
The staircase is a special object in the house. We proposed it lined with solid surface. This is a synthetic material with many qualities, including its continuity. Due to its characteristics, it reinforces the sculptural character of the staircase.
Walls and doors are neutral elements in terms of materiality and color. The paintings, objects and wood are the protagonists.
It consists of configuring volumes very clearly. We do not tolerate intersections.
The main volume, a prism with a gabled roof, runs from one end of the property to the other. When it meets other elements, a fragmentation occurs. Never a crash.
Inside, the wooden ceiling in the social area takes the form of two floating volumes. They do not touch the walls. Similarly, we define each space without generating ambiguities. This does not mean breaking spatial continuity.
Warmth and comfort.
We make each space a place where the inhabitant wants to be. The house is the shelter of people. To be so, architecture requires the collaboration of objects and vegetation. Our proposal is to integrate them into one.
Protection against germs.
The lobby has the functions of a common entrance hall. It is a space of transition between exterior and interior. But it is also a filter. It has elements that make it a barrier against germens from outside. These are a sink, a rug integrated into the floor and a small closet.
Privacy and isolation.
The house faces a small street but is not far from congested urban areas. This led us to seek to protect the house from outside noise. To this end, we placed vegetation in the perimeter of the property. Indoor sound bouncing was another issue we wanted to address. To avoid this, we used soft materials in finishes.
Besides to acoustic comfort, we looked for the thermal one. The house skin is designed with this goal. We proposed roofs and perimeter walls with thermal insulation. The chosen system is known as EIFS. It consists in installing the insulating material outside. At the end it is covered with mortar and paint. In windows we recommended double glass. One last step is to prevent sound or heat leaks through poorly made joints.
Integration to the context.
Although the house close from exterior, it contributes to its surroundings. It does this through some gestures. Among them the main volume of the house that is shown in profile. We also used vegetation. The gesture consists of a tree penetrating the wall that borders the street.
We proposed the gate made of wooden board. With this we integrated a new material with enormous tactile quality in the façade.
The house has an area of 350 square meters. It includes three bedrooms upstairs, each with its own bathroom, as well as a family room. On the ground floor there is a service bedroom with its own bathroom within the service area. It has a half bathroom next to the social area. It also has a two-car covered garage. The land is 630 square meters.